The Scene: A small business has heard they should blog regularly in order to connect with and grow their online audience. The business has limited budget, resources, and time. In reality they blog infrequently, on a whim, with little to no focus, and no perceived impact.
Does that sound familiar?
It’s tough to make time for blogging or content development when you have to run a business at the same time. I get it! So I’m going to help you out. Yes – you should blog. But you don’t have to do it all the time. In fact, I recommend you blog less (that’s right!).
Instead, focus on creating intentional, quality blog posts that drive traffic to your site. How do you do that? Well, since I’m an SEO person, I’m going to share a keyword research based approach to finding a content sweet spot – which means getting your posts to show up in search results.
Finding the Right Topic
To find the right topic you have to do some keyword research and search results analysis. The following Venn diagram shows three elements that contribute to honing in on the right topic for your next tailored blog post.
Search volume – the monthly average a keyword or phrase is searched in Google. If you want your blog post to show up in search results, and you’re a smaller website, it’s likely that you will need to target low volume keyword phrases.
Competition – the amount of sites vying to purchase ad space for a particular keyword phrase in Google. If many people are trying to buy ad space on a keyword phrase, then you can bet that it will be more difficult to create content that will show up in search results, too.
Site authority – a score based on 40+ metrics that impact the ability of a site to rank in search results. Site authority is a fancy way of measuring how good your website is. Does it look good? Is it well designed and organized? Are you an authority on your subject matter? If not, you may need to spend some time fixing up your site before you look into content marketing.
Using Google Keyword Planner to Find Niche Topics
At JB Media we face the same challenges as many other small businesses. We are a small online marketing company. We want to share information on a national scale. Online marketing as a topic is super competitive. There are tons of huge, highly authoritative companies out there like Moz and Hubspot that publish content and blogs about online marketing all the time.
For our blog posts to show up in search results we need to target super niche low volume keyword phrases. So instead of targeting “online marketing” we decided to write some blog posts about a less competitive topic, “kickstarter marketing.” We have run several kickstarter marketing campaigns, and have some great information to share. But for a little site like ours, even Kickstarter marketing is little too broad (though by blogging about it regularly, we can work on getting in search results for more general topics).
To get a post on the first page of search results we had to get even more nichified.
This is where the keyword planner comes in. Use the keyword planner to explore niche elements of a topic. The following screen grab shows how I used Google’s Keyword Planner to explore how people search for combinations of social media and Kickstarter or crowdfunding.
The phrase “social media kickstarter” meets the criteria for a good keyword topic. It has a low search volume at 10 searches per month and low competition. You may be thinking, 10 searches per month!? What’s the point of spending the time and energy for a post that would drive so little traffic?
10 searches per month refers to only that exact phrase. Google is getting pretty darn good at understanding the intent of a search. That means there are all sorts of ways visitors will search that may lead them to our post – IF we thoroughly cover the topic.
Explore Search Results – Then Write Your Post
Now that we’ve decided on a good topic, it’s time to see what is in the search results. It’s really as simple as Googling the topic you’ve narrowed in on. Then look at the top few pages and see what they have to say.
- Can you explore the topic further?
- Do you have more to say? More resources to share?
- Do you have better design elements?
Essentially you need to ask yourself – how do I do better than what is currently offered? Then it’s time to write your post and Bingo – first page of search results:
Review Impact – Repeat
The best thing about getting onto the first page of search results is that it drives real traffic to your site! That means you can measure real impact of your time and effort. Since our post that targeted “social media kickstarter” went live, we’ve earned 1,381 unique page views. That’s over 1,300 people that could become leads. If just 1 of those 1,300 people became a client, that would be a huge return on the investment of time and energy for creating the post.
The following screen grab from Google Analytics shows a quick snapshot of the metrics for this individual post. We see that the average time on page for this post is a whopping 4 minutes and 32 seconds. That is a highly engaged audience!
The best thing about employing this strategy is that you can measure impact and learn from the process. Not all posts will be winners, but you can always learn from each effort. As you continue to develop blog content, you’ll get a better idea around what types of topics engage your audience and lead to real conversions on your site. Interested in learning more? Check out my other posts in the SEO No-Nos series!